“The support announced yesterday is not going to be an antidote for all the issues the self-employed will have, but is a welcome safety net for many,” Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality CEO has told MCA.

The support package, announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday, will see the Government pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years.

Open to people for at least three months, Sunak promised it would be available from no later than the beginning of June, But Nicholls said that time is of the essence.

“As with the other measures announced, prompt delivery is key if individuals and businesses are going to be supported properly,” she said.

In the meantime, immediate supportive measures have been put in place including business interruption loans, a deferral of June income tax payments to January 2021, and a change in the welfare system to allow self-employed people with a non-working partner to access up to £1,800 a month in universal credit.

Research among the self-employed has suggested that on average, sole traders have savings to last around 14 weeks without work, meaning many will run out of cash before the first grant arrives.

Speaking on BBC breakfast this morning (27 March), business secretary Alok Sharma defended the delay, explaining that implementation was highly complicated.

“The chancellor was very clear that we want to do this as quickly as possible, we’ve set a date of June, if we can do it faster we will, but it is a complicated system that we are designing and we want to make sure we get it absolutely right,” he said.

According to package, pay-outs will be capped at £2,500 per month and will be open to anyone (with trading profits up to £50,000) who can provide a 2019 tax return to prove their self-employed status.

The Government has said this equates to approximately 95% of the self-employed population.

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